Research by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has revealed that the average Nigerian child spends an average of three to 10 hours per day in front of a screen either watching television, playing video games or browsing the Internet.
A survey carried out by NCC has also revealed that 85 percent of urban children between the ages of 11 and 16 browse and chat on social networking sites every day while only 20 percent of rural children the same age did the same.
According to the Commission, 93 percent of 11-16 year olds and 45 percent of four – 10 year olds go online with their mobile phones. It added that 56 percent of the 11-16 years-old in both urban and rural areas do not have any form of restriction on their internet use.
The research by the Commission on young children and digital technology was necessitated by the increasing concern about children’s exposure to associated risks and threats with the proliferation of digital technologies.
NCC noted that digital technology addictions have manifested in different forms including excessive viewing of video clips, compulsive video game playing and uncontrolled browsing and chatting on social media. It added that “the problem of technology addictions disorder is rampant among children as they are the group most prone to uncontrolled video game playing or social media use ”
Exposure to risks turns out to be a general side effect of today’s children growing up in a digital world. This, NCC noted, has called for a pragmatic approach to mitigate the desire to avoid risks and the necessity to access beneficial materials and to balance the immense benefits of digital technology with the safety of the children.
“The 2020 Child Online Safety Index report has submitted higher levels of disordered use of technology among children in Nigeria, placing her 6th from the bottom of the list of 30 peer countries.
“The rating is based on four indices – the severity of gaming disorder symptoms; the percentage of children at risk of gaming disorder; the severity of social media disorder symptoms; and, the percentage of children at risk for social media disorder.”